Kerri Kanuga has been accepted for the second time to participate in the STYR Labs Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon, which crosses 135 miles of Death Valley’s harshest terrain in eastern California.
National Geographic has declared it to be the “World’s Toughest Foot Race.”
Kanuga, who ran her first marathon in 2010 and attempted her first ultramarathon in 2015, has completed five ultramarathons in the last year, including the Brazil 135 (she completed the 160 version) and the Mt. Gaoligong Ultra 100 in China.
Kanuga travels to California in July, right after participating for her first time in the Marathon de Sables, the Morrocan based multi-stage race that tests athletes in the Sahara Desert. For Kanuga, the Marathon des Sables is the perfect preparation for Badwater 135, as she carries her own food and equipment for six days over 155 miles.
Kanuga was accepted to the 2017 Badwater 135 race after having completed the 2016 competition in 36 hours and 15 minutes and was the sixth place female.
“I am 47 years old and despite my ‘age’ I am the fittest and most motivated I have ever been in my life,” Kanuga said in a press release. “I was astounded at my Badwater 2016 performance and it has inspired me to train harder and push my physical boundaries.”
Kanuga is committed to the Heroes for Hannah charity and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supported young Hannah Meeson’s fight against a rare childhood cancer. To date, Kanuga has raised more than US$36,000 in support of St. Baldrick’s and says both Hannah and her family have been an inspiration.
“The strength of character of Hannah has shown throughout her cancer treatments and the determination of her family to give her the best support possible has been an inspiration to me,” she said in the press release. “If such a young girl can handle the physical and mental stress of extensive treatment with such gusto, I can push my body harder and complete some of the hardest races in the world, and it sill pales in comparison to Hannah’s journey.
“I train and compete for me, but I do well and push the boundaries because I have been inspired by Hannah and all the children like her. Being accepted to Badwater 135 this summer means I can really help raise the profile of St. Baldrick’s and increase my donations to this amazing foundation.”
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